Friday, May 2, 2008

What does Ritalin Really Feel Like? (A Personal Experience)

First of all, I'm not intending to cover this from a "medical" perspective. If you want to know this look it up in a medical journal or on wikipedia.

Ritalin is a medication which has had 50 years of field testing in children, it's therefore generally considered to be safe and to have minimal side-effects.

Of course, being a parent and giving my child a daily drug which is deemed safe isn't quite enough for me. I need to know what's really going on. Since my child doesn't communicate in any detail about the effects of the drug, I decided that I should give it a go myself. Since my genes are closest to his, I expect it's the next best thing to testing it on him (and getting decent reporting).

He's currently 7 years of age and is on 1.5 tablets in the morning and 1 at midday of Ritalin 10.

I did two tests, which gave me a good indication of the short term effects. I don't intend to do any further testing - not because of any side-effects but simply because I don't want to be using up my son's supplies. I guess that means that it's not immediately addictive. It also means that I'm only going to be discussing short-term effects.

The first test I did (at home) had minimal effects because I took exactly the same dose as him (despite my weight being probably 3x his). I noted some symptoms here but wasn't positive until I did the second test (at work). Ritalin is obviously still effective in small doses.

For the second test, I took 3 tablets (double his dose and still probably low for my relative weight).

The effects I noticed were as follows;

Slightly strange taste in mouth and loss of taste.
This was not complete loss, but was enough to give me a good understanding of why Ritalin supresses appetite. Even though I became hungry, I didn't feel the urge to eat much while "under the influence" because things didn't taste as good as they normally do.

Clear Feeling
This feeling didn't start until 20 minutes after taking the tablets but when it did, it increased quickly. In particular, the backchat in my head died down a bit and I found that it was much easier to concentrate on things. I felt less distracted by wayward thoughts (not people/object distractions as much but thoughts). I did get considerably more work done. The other thing to note about being "clear" was that it became much easier to keep track of where I was up to in several tasks while multitasking.

Nose clearer/drier
I've always had a "sniffly" nose which was described by my childhood doctor as looking like a jelly inside. It's not often that I am able to breathe freely and without noises (whistling etc) though it and I'm primarily a mouth breather. Under Ritalin however, I found my nose and mouth to be considerably drier and for a time I was able to breathe freely and without excessive noise.

Tingling
After about 30 minutes I started to get a tingling feeling. I'd had this before on my lower dosage and it feels a bit like an electrical current is running through your skin. I found myself to be more touch-sensitive than usual. Although it didn't distract me too much, the feeling remained for several hours. I don't think I was in 100% health on my first dose and the tingling then was far worse than when I took the larger dose. My thinking - ritalin would be hard to bear if you had a fever at the same time.

Queasiness
Along with the tingling sensation (or perhaps because of it), I felt a certain degree of queasiness in my stomache. The queasiness continued for several hours - even after most of the other Ritalin effects had worn off. As a result, I didn't feel too interested in eating.

Talking
During my time under the influence of Ritalin, we had a meeting. I'm normally a bit talkative at these things but this time I found myself being even more "with it" - as a result, I talked even more. We were reviewing a development specification and I stopped the meeting at several points to question decisions. I felt much more in control of the situation and much more focussed. Towards the end of the meeting I started to feel as if I was annoying my colleagues by pointing out things (which they'd missed) and I attempted, not terribly successfully, to quieten down. I can see this being a double-edged sword for my son in class.

Increase in stamina and co-ordination
I noticed this the first time I tested Ritalin on the lower dosage but wasn't sure. The first time I went out to mow the lawn and ended up doing the lawn, the whipper-snipping, the edging and a huge amount of weeding without becoming tired. I only stopped when (after stomping in it) the bin was so full of grass that I couldn't get the lid down. While on the stronger dose, which definately lasted a little longer, I went to the Gym. I normally only use the exercise bike for about 15 minutes - and this time I was still tired from all that lawn mowing. Nevertheless, I still managed to do 30 minutes. I also followed the bike up with some weight lifting without feeling too much tiredness. I also felt much more co-ordinated and was almost going to try the dreaded cross-trainer (which I normally fall off). I eventually decided that there were too many people around to make falling off (again) discreet, so I didn't test this facility.

While on the bike, I tested my heart rate because I've heard that Ritalin can affect it. It started off slightly slower than usual and didn't go up as high as it normally does despite a significant increase in exercise.

I also ran through a memory exercise while on the bike... In this case, mentally reciting the name of every Dr Who story (in order) from An Unearthly Child 1963 to the Sontaran Stategem (2008). It's a special interest thing and a very long and difficult list. I found that I was able to move through the list faster without becoming distracted by my surroundings but compared to a non-ritalin test which I did two days later, I missed out a few items and got several stories in the wrong place. On Ritalin, I was faster, but slightly less accurate.

As far as depressive feelings, I looked out for them but didn't notice any. If anything I felt considerably more bouyant while on Ritalin. I also looked carefully for changes in feelings while "coming off" the drug. I didn't notice anything unusual.

I'm sure that the effects of Ritalin vary widely from one person to another but I figured it was worth sharing my experience.

43 comments:

Ryan Walberg said...

Your scientific enthusiasm is very much appreciated by this Asperger's parent who's considering the medication for his Asperger's son. Bravo!

Anonymous said...

Could you tell us which DX your son has? Do they prescribe Ritalin for Aspergers in Australia?

Gavin Bollard said...

My son was initially diagnosed with ADD but the dx of Aspergers was added later.

The Ritalin was prescribed for ADD, not Aspergers since there's no drug that has been proven effective against Aspergers.

We've found that Ritalin is very effective with our son but only against the ADD/ADHD symptoms.

As discussed in one of my earlier posts, I don't believe that my son has classic "ADD/ADHD". I think we're really seeing just a comorbid of Aspergers.

Anonymous said...

Great post. Ritalin, from your description, seems like it could really work wonders for a child with ADD/ADHD. Makes me want to pop a pill myself (I have AS).

I have a friend with an ADHD son. She won't give him Ritalin for reasons unknown to me, even though her doctor has recommended it. She uses Concerta instead - do you know anything about this drug? Anyway, I'll have to show her your blog post.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous(2): Concerta has the same active ingredient (methylphenidate) that Ritalin has. Concerta is an extended release tablet which releases the active ingredient over a period of time, so you only need to take it once in the morning.

So technically your friend gives her son Ritalin, but she doesn't give him the full blast at once ;)
(slightly exaggerated)

Anonymous said...

For those of us that require the medication, it doesn't have the same effect you experienced.

Gavin Bollard said...

One of the main reasons for this post was to show parents that these drugs are considered to be safe enough to use in children on the basis of a non-medical (ie: observational rather than blood-test) basis.

If they're that safe, then that can be tested by parents.

All drugs vary from one individual to another and in different strengths. My findings may be quite different from the findings of others.

If you feel that ritalin (or other drugs) affect you differently, I'd be keen to hear of your symptoms in a reply post.

Asterisp said...

I am a bit surprised about your findings about the better co-ordination. It is not something I hear a lot. It sounds nice, but didn't you have negative effects, like losing a certain kind of thoughts (or something else?)

Gavin Bollard said...

I was extremely surprised by the co-ordintation effect too. I haven't seen it documented elsewhere but I did experience it on both occasions.

I did have a some "negative" effects and I mentioned them in the blog. To clarify, they were as follows;

Strange Taste and Queasiness - These would lead to a loss of appetite, which is a well documented side-effect of Ritalin.

Nose Clearer/Drier - If this increased with higher dosages or if it went on for prolonged periods, then it would increase the liklihood of nosebleeds - another well documented side-effect of Ritalin.

Tingling feeling - It wasn't unbearable but it was a bit annoying. A bit like the feeling you get when you drink several cups of filtered coffee in the same day. It continued for a while after the other side-effects had worn off and I can see how this could keep you awake at night.

Excessive Talking - I talked to someone else about this and they described the feeling as unable to shut themselves up. I felt this way a bit as well.

Anonymous said...

Gavin,

I noticed you tagged this post with low muscle tone. Do you have plans to make a more detailed post about it? I benefited from your last post regarding hypotonia - it explained the bad posture habit I've been trying to kick for years.
Thanks,
Rupert

nekonoai said...

Wow! You sure are a dedicated parent!

This makes me understand, now, why my sister would never want to eat AFTER given her meds. At the beginning, my parents would give it to her during a meal, only to have her sign that she was finished eating almost immediately after taking it. I didn't realize it changed the way things tasted. That's an interesting side effect. After awhile of her doing this, they started waiting until she said she was finished eating to give her the meds.

I heard that ritalin was a form of speed (not sure if that's 100% true), but that could explain why you were more energetic in your activities and your stamina was longer.

Gavin Bollard said...

I mainly added the Low Muscle Tone tag to this post because of the effects of Ritalin on physical activity.

I do have plans to go into more depth on all topics it's just a matter of gathering my thoughts and experience before doing so.

THE MOM BOMB said...

Thanks for this post - we may wind up putting our daughter on Focasil/Focalon, and this makes me feel better if that's the case.

I have a seven year old son. His school is suggesting he's Asperger's and we may well get him an evaluation. The main concern is his lack of interaction with his peers. This confuses us, because at home he's VERY engaged with us and his sister (their imaginative play goes on for hours).

My question is: where do you draw the line between Asperger's and introversion? I myself am an introvert and am quite comfortable with solitude -- in fact, I need it. During a dinner party or such, I'm quite sociable and enjoy people . . . but then after two hours I've had enough of them and really need to be alone with my thoughts.

My son tells me he "needs a break from people" at recess and "wants time to think". I'm just concerned that a generation of shy/introverted kids are being classified as Asperger's too early. Any advice?

Gavin Bollard said...

Aspies and Introverts: A great question that I'll make the focus of my next post. Thanks for the inspiration.

Anonymous said...

Hi Gavin,
I'm not sure if you realize this, but the term "mouth breather" has bad connotations in American society (see: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=mouth+breather, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mouth_breathing). I suggest you remove it before readers of your archival get the wrong impression.
-Rupert

Gavin Bollard said...

I wasn't aware of the connotations but I think I'll leave the post as-is since it mostly gets its message across.

I can't adjust for every form of colloquialism in my posts.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I started Ritalin this morning. 5mg. I'm an adult with attention/concentration/memory problems. Haven't noticed any cognitive changes yet, mild lip tingling and nausea (very mild) but no cognitive effects. Am I being impatient? Ha. Most of those taking Ritalin notice an improvement in 20 mins, perhaps my dosage is too low? Thoughts welcome.
Paul

Gavin Bollard said...

My son is on Ritalin 10. He's 8.

Ritalin works on body weight and my son, while tall is quite thin. There's also other factors which affect the dosage but I think that it's almost a given that if you're an adult, then Ritalin 5 isn't going to do much.

You're right to start on a low dosage though - and work your way up.

You're not being impatient. 1 hour is a good time to wait and I've had plenty of Doctors say that if you don't find significant benefits within 2 weeks of taking the medication daily, then you should either change the dosage or stop altogether.

Ritalin isn't always effective - it's certainly got limited or no effect on Aspergers. Only on the ADHD comorbid.

Paul said...

Thanks Gavin, I upped my dose to 10mg, then 20mg. The only difference was, I talked a bit more, I felt quite nostalgic and a tad emotional. Which wasn't very constructive. I guess I'm not sure what to expect from it so I don't know what "working" feels like.
Perhaps I'll ask if I can try Adderall XR or Strattera or Provigil?
Paul

Gavin Bollard said...

Paul,

Give ritalin a couple more days and write down exactly how you feel on each day. If things don't improve - take your notes to your doctor and see what else he can offer.

If you try alternatives, look them up on wikipedia. It's not the most accurate but it has a unique personal slant;

Adderall

Strattera

Provigil

Mark said...

Hello,
I'm a 19 year old male from the Netherlands. I just stumbled upon your blog while searching for aspergers and empathy and started reading more of it.

This post interested me in particular because my parents talked my psychiatrist into prescribing me Ritalin for my Aspergers. I'm glad they did,
because it works for me. I use 4 doses of 10mg every day. The effects I'm encountering are a bit different from the ones you're describing though. For example:

Tingling, Queasiness, Butterflies:
The tingling and queasiness you describe are very pleasant feelings for me. It feels a bit like being in love.

Hungry:
I don't know if it's related to the previous, but Ritalin makes me feel really hungry.

Clear Feeling, Talking:
That said, the clear feeling and urge to talk are exactly like you describe.

Stamina:
This is an interesting point as it's one of the main reasons I started using Ritalin. I'm not sure if it's my Aspergers, but I tend to be really inert. (or lazy as same people call it) With Ritalin I have much more energy, feelings and thoughts don't pollute my mind and I can do things I should by doing, instead of focussing on meaningless tasks and thoughts.

These are just my experiences and ideas, Ritalin probably works different for whoever is using it. The build up time where you start building the dose by using a little more each day might be important as well. It helps suppress the side effects for me at least.

The time you spend on creating this blog is highly appreciated, thank you.

Anonymous said...

I'm a 32 year old male (weighing 175lbs)and i get ritalin for adhd. 4x 10 mg a day. no wonder you got that tingling sensation in your fingers when popping 30 mg in one go!!

Flying13 said...

I was recently diagnosed with ADHD in college. Today I took my first dose of ritalin. They prescribed a 20mg tablet ("take once in the morning). I also noticed the tingling sensation but in my lips/tongue/teeth and nowhere else. It is akin to the feeling I get when I drink beer on an empty stomach. I was able to focus more in my labs and also didn't feel like leaving the room asap (which normally, I can hardly wait to get out...it's almost like torture being there on a normal day). I took SUPER long, detailed notes--abnormal for me as well--and didn't care how long it took. My handwriting improved markedly. Only thing is, I started misspelling words here and there, or omitting letters. When I am not on ritalin, I am an excellent speller and never leave out letters or anything. This was a strange effect.

I still felt like eating, however, and over 8 hours later, I was starving! I ate like there was no tomorrow! Also strange. I normally eat slow and not very much. Today I was ravenous (at breakfast after taking it AND at dinner)! However, I did go a long time without eating...albeit, a result of labs and a no food policy. At any rate, it didn't bother me.

I also found I was less lazy to do a task. I didn't feel more energetic, just less lazy. I'm normally always tired and sleepy, but today I felt, "normal". I wasn't lazy to walk anywhere (normally I take the bus) or to do anything.

All this being said, I never felt overly energetic, nor did I have any "withdrawal" effects. I didn't feel depressed either. I felt like me the entire time...just slightly more focused. The "chatter" in my mind stopped while it was working. Songs that get stuck in my head that I hear throughout the day didn't stop being stuck though.

Other than that, I didn't really notice anything arguably different than normal. Weird thing is my friend said that the dose they gave me is abnormally high for starting someone on (his mom is a nurse).

Anyway, thanks for the post. I was wondering if I was the only one who felt the tingly sensation. :)

Adam said...

I am a 30 year old from Canada. I was diagnosed with ADHD when I was around the age of 6. However my parents did not like the idea of me taking drugs so as a result I did not receive any treatment. Today was also my first time taking ratline (Concerta) 27mg Slow release tabs taken once in the morning. I started to feel the effects after about 30 to 45 minutes after taking the drug.

I am self employed and am in the tree service industry. I noticed right away that i was much calmer then usual and had way more patents.I did feel a bit of a slight body stone ie tingling feeling but not distracted at all. i did have a song or two stuck in my head but i was still able to focus on my job.

I'm not the best at typing or a good speller but I am noticing that it is worse than normal.I also find that i am sometimes typing the right letters but in the wrong order. That is really weird.

After my short word day finished i was able to get allot of maintenance done on my equipment. i washed my truck and chipper and at the same time I was able to teach a new employee how to grease the truck and how to do and oil change on the chipper. For me that is a breakthrough. I was calm the whole time did not feel stressed out and was able and willing to take the time to stop what i was doing to help him without loosing my focus on with i was working on.

my mouth and nose feel a little dryer than normal but that could also be due to the fact that i have not drank much watter today.
My appetite seems to be normal.

I did not finish high school,I have had one failed marriage and endless other struggles in my life all as a result of my ADHD. i am excited about the effects that the Ritalin has had on me and I have a feeling its going to change my life for the better.

Adam

Anonymous said...

Ritalin feels like a caffeine crash.

Laura said...

My son was diagnosed with Aspergers at the age of 12 after long struggles from the time he was 2. After years of being seen by Neurologists and year after year of IEP's, it has taken the struggle of social interaction to get to the diagnosis. My son is very high functioning but presents very classic symptoms that seem relatively normal but present in very strange ways. I've been working with a Pediatric Psychiatric Hospital in RI and they are phenomenal! I am addressing the person in this discussion stream who wanted to know what an Aspie was vs. special education needs or ADHD. Aspies typically present some very unique features which include:
1) Low Muscle tone, e.g. can't pull oneself out of a pool
2) Leaning/Laying down at inappropriate times
3) Using advanced vocabulary words at the wrong times
4) Physical tics which may include scratching head or limbs, shaking legs, babbling like an infant at an older age
5) Appearing to be "stuck" at certain maturity levels
6) Verbal tics with the mouth like clicking or clearing one's throat
7) Highly routined in all areas of their lives: e.g. having to eat the same things, upset about not doing the same routine everyday8) Obsessions with unusual things. My son is obsessed with dollar bills and game shows
8) Excessive hugging
9) Standing too close to people
These are just some of the unique traits of an Aspie
I hope this helps anyone who is struggling with the question! Every Aspie presents different.

Anonymous said...

I have Aspergers and was given this by a doctor who informed me it would make me more normal. Wrong, it made me have a psychotic attack, and the withdrawal, worst of my life. I've tried all medications. Antipsychotics right after the Ritalin experience to get back to normal, then anti-anxiety, then anti-depressants. None worked for Aspergers. THe only thing that works very well is pharmaceutical grade fish oil and a very strong Vitamin B complex. Aspergers occurs because kids have a larger cerebral cortex with more cholinesterase neurons, these require more glucose, energy, and Omega 3-DHEA oils. If you don't provide your brain with adequate nutrition and it's bigger, then yes you're going to have problems. Drugs do nothing for Aspergers, because well people with Aspergers have bigger brains. Thus you need to supplement the bigger brain with brainfood, not medications. The brain metabolism is higher, is all, once the nutrition is taken care of, then the brain begins to adapt, although some type of sensory integration will always remain with someone with a larger brain. Larger brains use more brain matter, that's a genetic-mother nature thing, something that can't be cured with drugs. In other words, you can't make a smart person stupid with drugs, the drugs will only make them crazy. Even after they make you crazy, the brain will still be large, it will not mutate and get smaller. Drugs are not the key, nutrition is.

Hannah said...

I got diagnosed with ADHD 2 days ago, and have taken 1 18mg Ritalin tablet this morning for the first time.
I can relate to lots of the symptoms mentioned, but I don't know whether this might just be a psychological thing because Iread up on the side-effects before taking and then expected them, looking back I can't tell if things I experienced were just normal for me or whether they were induced by the Ritalin. Also I was focusing so hard on how I felt, I forgot to monitor my behavior and if things were easier for me. Anyway, side-effects / symptoms of ritalin (?) that I found were:

Tingling: probably about 30 minutes after I took the tablet (I took it at 6.30 am and went back to sleep) I woke up with a tingling sensation all over which lasted about 2 - 3 minutes but then went away. I felt this tingling again at about 20 past 1. I didn't notice any tingling in my mouth, lips or tounge and I didn't notice that my mouth or nose was dryer than usual.

Clear head: I did notice, and actually said to someone without knowing it was a side-effect "I feel like I have a really clear head, all the stuff that jumbles up has gone." I don't know if my concentration was better or not, but I did more work in my lessons than usual. Strangely, I did experience jumbling up of letters while writing, which is unusual for me. I rarely make spelling mistakes. I felt upbeat and hopeful, but that could be because I'm happy that I've finally got help.

I wasn't not hungry as such, but I didn't eat as much today as I normally do, although I did get hungry before lunch. I didn't feel queasy or experience any pain anywhere. I always talk loads so I didn't notice any excessive talking. Being able to focus more when multi tasking was just as you described.

The only big difference I noticed was my behavior in my business lesson. I didn't feel hyper at all as I have consistently since September, and didn't make any stupid noises or anything, although I have been tapping and wiggling quite a bit.

Now, I was told that one pill would last 12 hours, but at around half 1 I became extremely lethargic, and felt quite emotional and if I was about to fall asleep which I can't explain ? and then for my last lesson in school at 2, I felt very hyper and giggly and back to my normal self, which leads me to think that the pill wore off? Is 18mg for a 16 year old, 11 stone girl a small amount?

I didn't notice increased stamina, but I did want to stay in class rather than jump around like an idiot, and I didn't feel frustrated at all, but when I feel it started to wear off, when I felt lethargic, I also felt extremely restless and uncomfortable.

Overall, I did notice things, and feel it helped me but only time will tell.

Hannah said...

I got diagnosed with ADHD 2 days ago, and have taken 1 18mg Ritalin tablet this morning for the first time.
I can relate to lots of the symptoms mentioned, but I don't know whether this might just be a psychological thing because Iread up on the side-effects before taking and then expected them, looking back I can't tell if things I experienced were just normal for me or whether they were induced by the Ritalin. Also I was focusing so hard on how I felt, I forgot to monitor my behavior and if things were easier for me. Anyway, side-effects / symptoms of ritalin (?) that I found were:

Tingling: probably about 30 minutes after I took the tablet (I took it at 6.30 am and went back to sleep) I woke up with a tingling sensation all over which lasted about 2 - 3 minutes but then went away. I felt this tingling again at about 20 past 1. I didn't notice any tingling in my mouth, lips or tounge and I didn't notice that my mouth or nose was dryer than usual.

Clear head: I did notice, and actually said to someone without knowing it was a side-effect "I feel like I have a really clear head, all the stuff that jumbles up has gone." I don't know if my concentration was better or not, but I did more work in my lessons than usual. Strangely, I did experience jumbling up of letters while writing, which is unusual for me. I rarely make spelling mistakes. I felt upbeat and hopeful, but that could be because I'm happy that I've finally got help.

I wasn't not hungry as such, but I didn't eat as much today as I normally do, although I did get hungry before lunch. I didn't feel queasy or experience any pain anywhere. I always talk loads so I didn't notice any excessive talking. Being able to focus more when multi tasking was just as you described.

The only big difference I noticed was my behavior in my business lesson. I didn't feel hyper at all as I have consistently since September, and didn't make any stupid noises or anything, although I have been tapping and wiggling quite a bit.

Now, I was told that one pill would last 12 hours, but at around half 1 I became extremely lethargic, and felt quite emotional and if I was about to fall asleep which I can't explain ? and then for my last lesson in school at 2, I felt very hyper and giggly and back to my normal self, which leads me to think that the pill wore off? Is 18mg for a 16 year old, 11 stone girl a small amount?

I didn't notice increased stamina, but I did want to stay in class rather than jump around like an idiot, and I didn't feel frustrated at all, but when I feel it started to wear off, when I felt lethargic, I also felt extremely restless and uncomfortable.

Overall, I did notice things, and feel it helped me but only time will tell.

Gavin Bollard said...

@Hannah,

If you took a RITALIN tablet, it will only last for six hours. If you took a CONCERTA tablet, then it's a 12 hour tablet.

The dose might be a little low but that's probably for the best as your doctor needs to establish that;

1. It actually works for you.
2. There are no harmful reactions from you.

A low dose is a good starting point.

Anonymous said...

This was cool that you did this. I'm going to share my experience as an adult taking Ritalin, which was good. I'm 5'5 and 125 lb female age 25. I took 10 MGs after getting my prescript, before going to class (I'm a senior in college). About twenty minutes later, the whole world looked vibrant and beautiful (I'm assuming this was the euphoria kicking in). Keep in mind, I only took ONE 10 MG tablet.

On a normal day, the world is a scary, dizzy, frightening place for me. I have major bad depression and anxiety and who knows what else. It is literally terrifying to be alive most days. I can't read closely unless the wind is blowing the right direction for me that day. Today I was able to read closely three assignments and I actually felt GOOD and CONFIDENT being in class. I SMILED. My professor looked shocked.

I do not intend on overusing or abusing this drug. 10MGs was enough for my morning dose. I'm prescribed to take one more in the afternoon, which I just did. Today was my first day taking it, and it has been amazing. I don't think I've ever been this happy-- not because I'm high, but because I can actually READ and ENJOY the material I know I love deep down.

If you are like me and spend most of your days in a state of sheer confusion and terror, this drug (used properly) might be good for you too. After I've been on it for more than a month, i will write my own BLOG.

Anonymous said...

You probably already know this but yes they do

Anonymous said...

I was diagnosed recently and started using it as well.was very enthousiastic till I read this.
http://www.ritalindeath.com/

its something to take into serious consideration I think

Gavin Bollard said...

Death by Ritalin is certainly a possibility if one has a reaction to it. Medications and foods always need to be monitored carefully because everyone's individual genetic makeup can make them more or less susceptible to side effects.

The same goes peanuts, bee stings, shellfish, latex and many other things which are generally harmless to the rest of the population.

It doesn't mean that ritalin is not useful and it doesn't make it any riskier than eating your first prawn.

Bright Light said...

I'm sorry if your blog wasn't meant to be funny, but I laughed uncontrollably upon reading it. You really made my day. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I had a similar experience when they wanted to put my son on Ritalin- initially I was vehemently opposed but eventually agreed to try him on it and like you was determined to know what he would experience so I took one of his tablets. I struggled all through school and dropped out of University in spite of having an I.Q. 139 (whatever that means!) Having taken his med's I was helping my daughter with a puzzle ( normally something that would hold mt attention for about 10 seconds) and after calling me for lunch 5 times my wife laughed and said "I don't know about our son but you defiantly need that stuff!"

Long story short I have been taking Ritalin for the last 4 years and it has transformed my life. Peripheral side effects like stomach ache etc disappeared in about a month as my body became acclimated and the "rush" effect on taking the drug also has abated and I don't really notice any difference unless I have not taken it and have to try and do any clerical task....disaster! I can, of course, force myself to concentrate but it's exhausting and now with Ritalin it's effortless. It has changed my life and I look back and wonder what might have been had I been on it in school. In my experience, if you need it it will change your life and if not, you will notice no difference at all. If it's been recommended for your child then it's simple, put them on it and once they are taking it skip one day and then interview their teacher at the end of two weeks- trust me if your child need's this stuff, their teacher will be able to pinpoint the day that you skipped with no trouble at all!!

Anonymous said...

Just an FYI, body weight has nothing to do with efficacy. Ceterus parabus, if you took more than your son, you didn't experience the same effects.

Anonymous said...

My son was dx adhd today and prescribed ritalin. Not got prescription yet but will see what happens and repost back here. Your blog was a good read as a parent with concerns. I was scared but you helped me understand more. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

Loved to read your experience, I had asked my husband to do the same. Because its really hard for my 9 year old to express the difference and symptoms. He is a little inmature for his age. And we were very troubled with the decision of putting him thru this med, took us like two years to finally making the decision. And It has done wonders for all of us. Now we see its for his own good, self steem is much better, we dont have to repeat everything anymore. He is more the innatentive type and sometimes passed as unnoticed. He still lacks the follow instrucctions @ school, but I guess its because of his inmaturity. Hate when people judges us for the decision as if we where bad parents and they will never understand.

Chris G. said...

Thanks for a great blog and interesting comments. My 7-year old son was diagnosed with ADHD six months ago and we were vehemently opposed to meds. After being kicked out two after-school programs, and problems socially at school, we finally decided to try. It has only been 2 days, but we have already noticed a startling difference. His daily behaviour report came back perfect and we were shocked to see that he completed his homework (perfectly) for the first time without us asking. Although the effects are only supposed to last 4-5 hours, he is obviously more amiable and happy for the rest of the day too. I suspect that this is not the effects of the drug, but that he is more content with being successful and interacting well with others at school.

He is very bright and all his ADHD issues have related to lack of focus and poor behaviour. I believe this pill has the potential to turn his life around, but question what the long-term cost might be -- am particularly concerned about the risk of drug-dependency and effects on his heart.

He has 10 mg every morning before school, and we plan to keep him off it on weekends.

dwr08 said...

To the above poster (Chris G.), just a recommendation: I've been taking 74mg MPD (Metylphenidate) daily for years for ADHD (I'm 39 now), and I'd like to point out that giving your son breaks during the weekends is not a good idea quite yet; let me expand on this. During the first few months, and until the final doseage and release combination that works for him is established, he will have side effects, that will subside eventually. But if you start giving him weekend breaks now, he'll never fully leave the side effect stage, and that could induce you to believe that the meds don't work for him or are reacting adversely. Wait until he's been on the treatment long enough for the side effects to decrease or dissapear fully, and then, missing a day or two is a non-issue. Don't worry about heart issues, since the doses given to a child rarely go above 1-2 mg per Kg of body mass, and that is not enough to stimulate the cardiac muscles into strain. Appetite and weight loss, nausea, increased heart rate and possible sleeping dissorders are common during the adaptation phase, but subside eventually if the dose is taken regularly.

Also ask your physician about Concerta and Equasym combinations (different release timing), to avoid the typical Ritalin crashes.

Just my 2 cents, from my personal experience, and tons of research :)

Dmc814 said...

Thank you everyone for your posts! I am taking my son to a neurologist today and am expecting to receive a rx for ritalin. I am really nervous but all of your posts have been helpful. Thank you.

Dmc814 said...

Thank you everyone for your posts! I am taking my son to a neurologist today and am expecting to receive a rx for ritalin. I am really nervous but all of your posts have been helpful. Thank you.